December 26, 2012

The bicycle that went 200+ mph.

“Get your crank on – Bruce Burford’s bike which took him to a record speed of 334 kmph (207 mph).”

Speed, on bicycles, unless you’re in control (no traffic, potholes, surprises) is stupid. Still, it’s safe to think about—and amazing.

~ via Reddit via Imgur.

Via ever-illuminating Reddit comments:

Set on a rolling road. So yeah kind of bullshit. The more interesting records are 138 mph downhill (on snow) and 83 mph on flat ground (for human powered only).


The hardest thing about going fast is air resistance. It grows in proportion to your speed squared. Doing 207mph on rollers is a really weird feat, it’s not something that would even occur to me to try. I agree the 83mph flat ground record is much more interesting.

Oh, it gets worse.


‘Bursford died in a collision with a van while training.’

sh*t, that sucks

Awesome comment: I don’t love high speeds, either.

Offroad: I’ve hit 60-ish on a long straight downhill on an old steel no-suspension mountain bike. (Trail in question is/was known as “Mach 2” at the El Moro Canyon Park near Laguna Beach, CA. Basically a full width fire road that shoots down the wall of a canyon at steep angle.)

I damn near died. Hands vibrated right off the bars on the washboard fire road. Then my feet came off the platform pedals and I ended up skiing on my feet over the dirt until things slowed down enough to grab the handlebars and brakes again. I say 60ish because it was at that point I couldn’t see my speedo anymore because my eyeballs were vibrating too much.

I just locked up the back brake and slid standing over the crossbar for a good 100 yards until I came to a stop. At that point I wobbled over to the side of the road and fell over in a fetal position and hyperventilated for a good 15 minutes worth of adrenalin high.

I’ve never even attempted to go that fast off road ever since. Once was more than enough.

Fastest on road: 65 MPH, verified via onboard, dedicated GPS. Long, wide empty road at night coming down from Discovery park in Seattle towards interbay. Somewhat sketchy. I remember hitting cracks in the road and unintentionally catching too much air for comfort. When you’re going that fast and you catch an inch or two of air that means you’re airborne for up to tens of feet at a time. Scary.

Sketchiest onroad: 55 MPH. Cranking and bombing down Pine street from Capitol Hill to downtown at about 4 AM on mist and drizzle dampened roads that were totally slick and a rare mix of all green lights and zero city traffic. If I had had to stop or swerve I would have been road pizza. Possibly more exciting and thrilling (and dangerous!) than skydiving or going 120+ on a proper motorcycle. Haven’t tried this one again, especially after almost T-boning a car popping out of a blind alley when I was just going 20ish and realizing that even relatively fat 38C road/touring tires have almost zero stopping power at high speeds, especially on Seattle’s usually wet roads.

The bike in question for the last two onroad speeds is a Redline Metro Sport, basically a really fast city/sport/hybrid bike set up like a mountain bike with flat bars and t-handle grips with a road-ish aluminum frame and wheels and a 27 speed MTB style drivetrain and brakes with a rather high top end gear.

I’m actually not at all curious to see how fast I could go on a proper racing bike on a downhill. I already know that the answer is “too fast” because I’m very heavy and dense, and I have giant crank-snapping legs. Put me on something aero with a good fit on a downhill and I’d end up melting tires or brakes – or I’d simply snap the frame on the first good bump because I’m way too heavy for a good road bike.

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Waylon Lewis  |  Contribution: 1,151,015